Skincare 101

Every persons skin is unique. Depending on where you live, how old you are, what you do for a living, what you apply to your skin and even how much sleep you get will impact your skin.

Growing up I was a tomboy. My grandparents owned an egg ranch with thousands of chickens who had to be watered, fed, medically treated and of course their eggs picked up multiple times over 24 hours. This was just a way of life for my family. Since I was the youngest grandchild my responsibilities were minimal on the ranch, however, I have a brother who was all boy. Riding ATC's, having dirt clod fights, riding bikes and pretty much being outside from dusk til dawn. It was an amazing childhood.

That being said, I was dirty from the moment I walked outside each morning until I came in when being called for supper. You could not walk in the house without being steered toward the restroom to "wash up" for dinner. This was my first taste of skin care. Keeping your skin clean and free from dirt and debris is the most important aspect of any skin care routine. My grandmother never went a day without slathering on her Oil of Olay and spritzing her face throughout the day with mineral water. Those are some of my oldest memories of her....standing in her bathroom doorway watching her putting on make up or taking it off and getting ready for bed.

Some wash their face only once per day in the evening and that is ok. If you go to bed with a clean face, it won't magically get covered in dirt in your sleep.....however, if you sweat, if you go to bed with wet hair, if you get up for a midnight snack or if you have pets who come to visit you and they rub against your face for kisses and snuggles then your face is not as clean as it could be. A simple splash of water or a cotton pad using micellar water swiped across your skin could also be enough.

Others do a full wash in the morning and that also is ok. For me personally, I assess what my skin needs on a daily basis. If I wake up fresh as a daisy I may just splash water on my face and move on to my morning skin routine. This is very personal for each individual for many reasons: the cost of products are prohibitive for some, the knowledge of what to buy and how to use it can be daunting, the time you have to spend before you have to get out the door and maybe the most important factor is what does my skin right now to improve my problem areas; how can I prevent the aging process from showing more quickly than it needs to; do I really need A, B or C?

If you are a beginner in the skin care world it's always better to start small and build. In my opinion most people can have a very simple routine and greatly improve their skin without breaking the bank. Here is a very simple yet effective routing:

1) Splash your face with water to remove any dirt, debris or drool :)

OR use a micellar water on a cotton pad or using your hands or even a wash cloth to get a little deeper clean. Be sure to splash with water afterwards as micellar water is not intended to sit on the skin.

OR use a face wash to get that squeaky clean feeling to start off the day. 

2) If this is all you have time for or you feel your skin is in a good place, move on to sunscreen and head out the door or on with your day. Sunscreen is the single most important product you will ever put on your skin. Using sunscreen will not only prevent fine lines and wrinkles, it will also act as a shield against photo damage, free radicals in the air, pollution and environmental damage you may not even know is floating around you in your car, home, office and outside.

There are many types of sunscreens available from creams to sprays, powders to oils, chemical and mineral. The very best sunscreen is the one you will use. Period.

3) In the evening - If you are interested in trying just one product that you will get the most bang for your buck, my advice is to go with retinol. Retinol is the most studied ingredient, having more than 81 years of science and trials behind it. It isn't sexy, it doesn't work overnight, but dermatologists everywhere say it is the gold standard in skin care for a reason. It is used for all sorts of skin remedies, including fighting acne, preventing and reducing wrinkles, reversing sun damage, shrinking pores - all of the good stuff.

20 is a great age to begin using a retinol product. This age is when your collagen production is booming, you don't have lines or wrinkles and your skin is supple and thick so it just bounces back because it is perfectly moisturized and balanced. Having said that, it is NEVER too late to incorporate retinol into your routine. I personally started using retinol at 41. That seems like I got in pretty late in the game, but the changes I've seen and the reversal of so much sun damage and uneven skin tone has made me a firm believer in the wonders of retinol.

What people don't tell you is that during the first few weeks of use, most people will have redness, peeling and can be very dried out. This is NORMAL. It's even expected. Retinol is an "active", which means it contains ingredients intended to furnish pharmacological activity or other direct effects in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of, or to affect the structure or any function of the body, or in this case the skin.

Don't fear these affects, embrace them. There are quite a few ways to minimize the redness, dryness and even peeling.

Like all things there are many many retinol products to choose from. Creams, liquids, gels, etc. You can get a prescription from your dermatologist for retinol, but this is very strong and difficult to start with as a brand new user. There are also hundreds or thousands of over-the-counter (OTC) products by just as many beauty and skin care companies touting their specific formula.

I have found in my years of research, talking to friends, family, co-workers and even strangers that every persons skin is different. This being said, everyone will benefit from a retinol product, but not everyone can tolerate straight retinol (Vitamin A). Bakuchiol is a plant-derived retinol mimicking compound that delivers many of the same results as retinol without the irritation. 

Bakuchiol is a natural partner for retinol because both ingredients have similar and distinct benefits, with the similarities building on the results. Using bakuchiol and retinol at the same time leads to a healthier, fresher-looking complexion that just might have people asking what you’re doing to make your skin look so good! 

4) If you are really looking to start a routine that will show good, steady, noticeable progress add a Vitamin C (specifically L-ascorbic acid) serum in the morning before sunscreen. Vitamin C can help protect the skin from many problems, including sunburn, photoaging, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, sagging, dryness, and an uneven skin tone. Anyone dealing with these skin issues may want to consider adding a vitamin C serum to their skincare regimen. When you combine Vitamin C L-ascorbic acid, a highly potent form of pure vitamin C that neutralizes free radicals, protects against oxidative stress, and provides visible anti-aging benefits; 1% alpha-tocopherol, the pure form of vitamin E that works together with vitamin C to neutralize free radicals and replenish the skin’s lipids; and 0.5% ferulic acid, a plant-based antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and enhances the antioxidant benefits and stability of vitamins C and E.

Your routine can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. Next time I will give you a rundown on the most effective products and ingredients in the following categories: Facial washes, toners, treatments, serums and moisturizers. Until then feel free to reach out with any questions or comments. I'd love to hear from you all. 

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